Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 127–135

Evolution and Diversification of RNA Silencing Proteins in Fungi


    • Laboratory of Plant PathologyKobe University
  • Naoki Kadotani
    • Laboratory of Plant PathologyKobe University
  • Shigeyuki Mayama
    • Laboratory of Plant PathologyKobe University

DOI: 10.1007/s00239-005-0257-2

Cite this article as:
Nakayashiki, H., Kadotani, N. & Mayama, S. J Mol Evol (2006) 63: 127. doi:10.1007/s00239-005-0257-2


Comprehensive phylogenetic analyses of fungal Argonaute, Dicer, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase-like proteins have been performed to gain insights into the diversification of RNA silencing pathways during the evolution of fungi. A wide range of fungi including ascomycetes, basidiomycetyes, and zygomycetes possesses multiple RNA silencing components in the genome, whereas a portion of ascomycete and basidiomycete fungi apparently lacks the whole or most of the components. The number of paralogous silencing proteins in the genome differs considerably among fungal species, suggesting that RNA silencing pathways have diversified significantly during evolution in parallel with developing the complexity of life cycle or in response to environmental conditions. Interestingly, orthologous silencing proteins from different fungal clades are often clustered more closely than paralogous proteins in a fungus, indicating that duplication events occurred before speciation events. Therefore, the origin of multiple RNA silencing pathways seems to be very ancient, likely having occurred prior to the divergence of the major fungal lineages.


RNA silencingRNA interference (RNAi)DicerArgonauteRNA-dependent RNA polymeraseFungi

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material

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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006